I love making simple appetizers and nothing screams tasty like a cheese ball. According to legend,” writes Michelle Buffardi, author of Great Balls of Cheese, “the first cheese ball in recorded history was made in 1801 by Elisha Brown, Jr. on his farm and presented to President Thomas Jefferson” at the White House. Writer, Jennifer Russel delves more into the history of the cheese ball in her piece titled: “Respect the cheese ball: It’s the perfect party food”. There is even a book about cheese balls called “Great Balls of Cheese” featuring all kinds of great information and recipes. I don’t have this book but think it would be a great gift.
This mini cheese ball recipe comes from a friend in Vancouver I worked with in an office when I lived there in the 1990s. We would have work potlucks and she would bring in these mini chili cheese balls. Man they were good. So I’ve changed up her recipe and rolled them in everything from cumin, taco powder, za’atar, fresh parsley with fresh dill and of course chili powder. Paprika and garam masala or curry might be on my list next.
The key is to making them tiny. Think about 1 tsp sized so you can pop them in your mouth and eat several. I added fresh rosemary as I had some in the refridgerator I wanted to use up. You could add any fresh herb to your parsley mixture for new tastes and flavours.
Here’s how we do it.
- 12 oz softened cream cheese (1 & ½ blocks)
- 2 cups old cheddar cheese grated
- ¼ cup gouda cheese grated
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 scallion, chopped fine
- 1 tsp fresh rosemary chopped fine
- Spice Ideas (1-2 tbsp): taco seasoning, chili powder, fresh chopped parsley, za'atar spice
- Mix together cream cheese, cheddar cheese, gouda cheese, garlic, scallion and rosemary. Pour your spices on a plate.
- You can make these whatever size you want but I keep them mini.
- Scoop up about 1 tsp or less of the cheese mixture and roll into a ball. Continue until all the cream cheese mixture has been used.
- Roll ball in your chili powder ensuring completely covered.
- Serve immediately or keep in refrigerator until ready to serve.